Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.12 | 1451 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars After a hitherto successful career, Emerson, Lake and Palmer decided to push things further. Taking their already nowhere near simple compositions and beefing them up until it's just confusing. Brain Salad Surgery is a very controversial album. Many hate it, and many are head over heels in love. I would be nearer the latter, as it is really a fantastic progressive rock record, but by no means madly in love. Mixing many styles, atmospheres and feels, this album is not only diverse, but exhilarating, dark, and funny. Quite a combination.

Toccata is one of the most complex series of sounds made by man (perhaps a stretch, but certainly up there), and despite that, it is incredibly enjoyable. The group does very well taking a piece written for full orchestra and adapting it to fit a 3 piece band. A drum solo (that many people still don't know to be a drum solo) comes streaming onto the stage, where Carl uses some of the very first electronic drums ever created. This section fo the song sometimes feels a bit out of place, but really just adds to the grand scheme of the song.

Benny the Bouncer is a weak point on the disc, agreeably, but isn't nearly as bad as it's made out to seem. The fun, jovial, western sing-along may not be complex, profound, or original, but is very fun and a tad comedic. All the tracks are excellent, but Karn Evil 9 (all parts included) is the jewel here. It's ELP's greatest moment to many, myself included. It's epic, controversial, incredibly complex and evolving, with even catchy and memorable moments. However, many will dispute this album is the ideal example of the progressive pretentiousness, and perfectly demonstrates the overblown side of prog, and is evidence of why many people dislike artistic rock. However, I've always thought that no matter how overblown or pretentious a group of musicians are, it doesn't effect the quality of the music in question, and if one listens to the music with eyes closed, without thinking about how self-righteous these three may seem on stage, the music is great. And if one is to open their eyes, and bask in their silly costumes, flashy skills, self-important lyrics, the music remains great.

Since this is an archetypical prog album, it's full of pretentiousness, complexity, and musical prowess. Carl Palmer's greatest drumming is showcased on this album, along with some of Keith Emerson's best keyboarding, and writing. Greg Lake's vocals are very nice on this album, as are the lyrics by Peter Sinfield (which are not altogether lingering, but neither distasteful). Thanks being to its mild experimental nature, extremely high musicianship, complex and inspirational songwriting, and overall polish, this album is a shade off from being essential, but will be detested by those who have a prejudice against pretentious bands.

Shakespeare | 3/5 |


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